Calcutta HC orders search in jails to check use of mobile phones by inmates
The Calcutta high court said many undertrials regularly use mobile phones with impunity to keep contact with miscreants and commit offences from jail
The Calcutta high court has ordered the state government to conduct thorough searches in all jails across West Bengal to ensure that inmates do not get access to mobile phones.
“Many undertrials regularly use mobile phones with impunity to keep contact with miscreants and commit offences from jail. This grave aberration in prison security must be immediately addressed and remedied,” the order stated.
A division bench of justices Ajay Kumar Gupta and Joymalya Bagchi directed the state correctional administration secretary, director general of police (DGP) and inspector general of police to ensure that jails are thoroughly searched and mobile phones and other electronic devices are seized from inmates.
The court also directed that the government should explore the possibility of setting up jammers and X-ray machines or scanners.
The bench was hearing the bail application of one Sukur Ali Mondol, an accused in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. He is presently lodged in the Berhampore Correctional Home in another case.
“While in custody, he entered into conspiracy with co-accused persons Saniya Bibi, Belu Sk and Najrul Sk, who were dealing with narcotics, through mobile phone,” the court said.
The Calcutta high court had directed IGP (Correctional Service) to conduct an enquiry into the matter. According to the court, the IGP delegated it to DIG (Correctional Home) and endorsed the officer’s report. The report said that a mobile phone and SIM card was recovered from the petitioner. It further disclosed that search was conducted in 26 wards and 50 cells of the correctional home but no electronic device was detected.
“Call Detail Records (CDRs) show much prior to the aforesaid searches, petitioner had made phone calls from the Correctional Home. This establishes the fact that he was in possession of the mobile phone at the time when the searches were held,” said the order.
At present, there are 60 correctional homes in Bengal including seven central prisons, five special jails and one women correctional home among others. While the total holding capacity of our correctional homes is around 21,500, there are around 23,000 – 24,000 inmates in jails across the state.
Senior officer of the state correctional administration department refused to comment on the court’s order.
“We will abide by all the court orders,” said an official.